The idea of spring cleaning can be exhausting, especially in one of the highest traffic areas of your home. The rewards, however, are plentiful, and once you’re done, you will no doubt be glad you did it.
Not sure where to start? The following tips will give you a great place to start. While every kitchen is different, these tips apply to most kitchens.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
If you plan on getting in and out in a few hours, you’re not going to get the job done thoroughly. Instead, plan a couple days or more, depending on the size of your kitchen. Tackle one area at a time, and do it in smaller increments so you don’t burn out. If you give up halfway through because you’ve put in ten hours, you’ve wasted time.
Have the Right Supplies Handy
Unfortunately, while there are many all purpose cleaners on the market, if you really want to get your kitchen as clean as possible, you should have cleaning products for specific jobs. Oven cleaner, window cleaner, and a scouring product are a must, and if you have stainless steel, you should get something specifically made for cleaning it. Don’t forget about floors; if you have hardwood, you want to make sure you have something made to clean it or you can dull the finish pretty easily.
A broom and dustpan, a good mop, sponges and scouring pads, and lots of rags are also necessary, as is shelf paper if you’re lining your shelves and drawers (which you should!).
Clean Out Cabinets and Drawers
Now is the time to clean out that junk drawer and dig into those cabinets to see if you really need everything that’s in there. Throw out miscellaneous items like old batteries or keys that you can’t place, and give away or donate cookware, dishes, and small appliances that collect dust and take up space.
Take everything out and put it on display on the counter, and ask yourself when the last time you used it was. If it’s not a seasonal item and it’s been several months, it may be time to get rid of it. If it is a seasonal item (like your Christmas cookie cutters), consider finding another spot in your home to store it.
Clean Out the Pantry and Fridge
We all have cans of soup that we aren’t going to use, or a spice that was bought for a single recipe that will never get used again. Now’s the time to get rid of those items.
Take everything out of your pantry and go through each item individually to decide if you really need it. Open dried herbs and spices and smell them to see if they are worth keeping. If the smell doesn’t hit you when you open the jar, it’s not going to add anything to your dinner. Get rid of open packets of seasoning, cans or jars that are expired, and rice or grains that have been in your pantry for more than a year. Once everything is out of the pantry, scrub the shelves and walls well, and cover with shelf paper. Make sure that you dust everything before you put it back in (although if it’s covered in dust, do you really need it?).
Do the same thing to the fridge. Toss jars of mayo that you don’t remember buying, expired yogurt, or any produce that looks like it’s past its prime. Clean the shelves, and line the drawers with paper towels before putting anything back in.
Donate to a Food Pantry
Once you’ve boxed up canned goods and other food products that you don’t want, contact your local food bank to see about making a donation. Some places will even pick up. Ask what types of products they accept, however. Most places won’t accept anything perishable, and other products must be unopened and not expired. Donate what’s appropriate, and toss the rest.
Now’s the Time to Paint
If you’ve been thinking of repainting your kitchen, now is the time. You’ve gotten rid of excess clutter, and you’ve likely scrubbed everything clean. You’re taking the time to get everything in shape anyway, so you may as well take the time to paint. A fresh coat of paint, including the cabinets can make a huge difference in the appearance of your kitchen. It’s not that expensive, and unless you have a huge kitchen, won’t take very long.
Deep Clean Dining Room Table and Chairs
You probably wipe down the surface of your kitchen table after dinner every night, but when was the last time you cleaned the chairs or table legs? Now’s the time, especially if your chairs are covered in fabric. Make sure you use the right type of equipment and cleaning product on any fabric, and do a small test in an inconspicuous area before doing the whole thing to avoid ruining your chairs.
Do Floors Last
Your kitchen floor is probably one of the dirtiest places in the kitchen. It gets walked on, spilled on, and crumbs come from every which way. It needs to be deep cleaned, but if you do this before doing everything else, it’s guaranteed to be messed up again when you’re done.
Make sure you’re using a product specially designed for the type of floor you have, and avoid using an all purpose floor cleaner, especially on hardwood floors. If you’re going to scrub your floors by hand (something that needs to be done once in while), make sure you don’t use something that is too abrasive, or you’ll end up with scratches.
Don’t Forget to Look Up
While you know you need to clean the floors and windows, you may not realize that your ceiling needs to be cleaned once in awhile. Smoke, grease, and an occasional blending accident can leave your ceiling looking grimy, which will affect the overall look when you’re done.
It doesn’t need to be deep cleaned like your floors; just scrub the areas where you see stains. If you’re painting the rest of the kitchen, consider putting on a fresh coat of ceiling paint as well.
Buy Fresh Towels, Oven Mitts, and a New Apron
Towels, oven mitts, and aprons get daily use, and wear down quickly. Replacing them once a year isn’t a bad idea, and having brand new fresh linens can make a difference in the satisfaction you feel when you’re done with the job. If you have curtains or drapes, consider new ones, or at least washing the ones you have.
Create a Plan to Keep Your Kitchen Clean
Once your kitchen is cleaned and scrubbed, you want it to stay that way right? The only way to make that happen is to consciously keep it that way, and that means developing a plan of attack for the future.
Make it a habit to clean your kitchen after every meal with no exceptions, run your dishwasher at night, and unload it first thing upon waking, and set aside time every week to wash windows and floors. Continue a kitchen inventory system for groceries, cookware, and appliances, so that you never have so much that cleaning it out becomes necessary.
Taking a weekend when the weather turns and cleaning out your kitchen from top to bottom makes a huge difference in the way you feel everyday when you get up to make coffee, or prepare a huge dinner. It’s not hard, and can be done in a couple days if you tackle it right the first time.